Pope Francis Center provides oasis for Detroit’s homeless

DETROIT – From above, this looks like any other cafeteria, but the Pope Francis Center is a bit more special inside.

Right in the middle of Downtown Detroit at the corner of Saint Antoine Street and Larned Street, it’s an oasis for Detroit’s homeless to seek refuge.

The center is open in the morning from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. People can warm up or cool off in the summer, get a hot breakfast, do their laundry, shower and socialize with others. It’s a much needed service for the number of people who are homeless in Detroit.

“The last point in time the count was somewhere around 2,000 in the downtown area so a lot of folks live under the overpasses under 375. They live in Hart Plaza. They live in doorways and on sidewalks. That’s where they sleep at night so that’s the population that we’re serving here,” said Father Tim McCabe.

The center is connected to the Peter and Paul Catholic church. It used to be called a warming center but Father McCabe changed that, and for good reason.

“I wanted a name that better reflected who we were and what we were doing so Pope Francis had just opened showers for the homeless in the Vatican so I’m like who better to symbolize what it is we’re trying to do in terms of treating people with human dignity," he said.

A quick walk through the center, we saw him give handshakes and hugs to many of the people who come here for services.

But Father McCabe wants to do more. The day center will see about 150 to 200 people a day. His goal is to find a solution for those faced with chronic homelessness.

For more information on the Pope Francis Center, go to its website here.

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